Blair set to defy teachers over pay

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The Independent Online
TONY BLAIR will defy teaching unions today with a warning that the Government is determined to push ahead with its plans for performance-related pay.

In a speech to the National Association of Head Teachers conference in Cardiff, the Prime Minister will say that rewarding high-achieving teachers is central to attracting more graduates to the profession.

Mr Blair is expected also to expand his vision of an enhanced role for teachers in the state sector.

"A world class education system is an indispensable condition for creating a fair and progressive society for the next century," he will say.

The Government will lead a drive to restore teaching to its "rightful place" as one of Britain's foremost professions, with a status equal to that of medicine and law. Mr Blair will insist that good heads are responsible for good schools, not local education authorities. LEAs should be restricted to gaining funds for schools, not running them.

Heads across the country are already leading a "quiet revolution" in education and LEAs should only intervene when a school is failing, not when it is successful, Mr Blair will say.

To boost the role of headteachers and attract more talented people to the profession, a new National College for School Leadership, dubbed the "Sandhurst for Education", will be created.

Crucially, The Prime Minister will indicate that the Government is not going to back off from its Green Paper proposals to introduce performance- related pay for teachers. Most teaching unions, including the National Union of Teachers and the NASUWT, are vigorously opposed to such moves, saying that they will penalise teachers for the deprived backgrounds of some pupils.

Tony Blair, Review, page 4